Classic Day 2 Rewind – “There is No Substitute for Time on the Water.”

Regardless of who wins the 49thBassmaster Classic, you can learn a lot from watching a local, Ott DeFoe for instance, fish his home lake. You can learn even more riding around with a local, Brad Knight for instance, while watching.

While filming today for the Progressive Bass Wrap Up TV Show, Bassmaster Classic episode, we rode the lake with Forrest Wood Cup Champion, Knight, who grew up fishing these waters and still lives near the ramp from which we launched.

One of the more pertinent details Knight pointed out was that while Mark Daniels Jr continued to pound the rocks along the shore, Ott Defoe pulled up nearby and worked a subtle, unseen rock pile just a step deeper.

DeFoe quickly pulled up the trolling motor and blasted across the lake to make a handful of casts to a specific piece of something that hung his crankbait for a moment.

Minutes later he led his small navy of spectators to the next little cove around the corner and repeated the process.

“I could literally go to the next spot he’s going to fish, set up and be waiting for him,” said Knight. “We all fish the same stuff. And the advantage for him is that, while this is a spring time tournament and a guy like MDJ can see a lot of the targets, there’s a lot of stuff just off the bank that you don’t see and that is not so obvious on your electronics.”

It is true pattern fishing and DeFoe understood the differences in the spots he chose as he attempted to decipher the daily puzzle.

“So much of tournament fishing these days comes down to just finding an area and then catching all you can off that spot,” said Knight. “Ott is actually trying to figure a pattern that he can run.”

Mike Iaconelli apparently found a subtle spot and worked it over. Not sure if he can more like it and run a pattern, but he had a flurry of action off a flat rock out in front of some obvious-looking rip rap which he ignored. Over the next 40 minutes Ike put more than a dozen bass. It gave him an unofficial lead on BassTrakk.

But then, as we said in yesterday’s story on, BassTrakk lies.

It is fun to follow though.

What you may not ascertain from BassTrakk stats though, are the techniques our anglers use to post those weights.

“People sometimes poke fun at us (Knoxville area anglers) for using a spinning rod with our crankbaits,” shared Knight as we watched DeFoe work, “but we grew up fishing with Shad Raps and small, light, flat-sided crankbaits made of balsa that are made here locally. A spinning rod gives you the distance and control you need in this wind. If you’re picking out a backlash, you’re not covering water. And it can all come down just one cast that you made or didn’t make.”


Author Vance McCullough is an avid Outdoorsman and Football Coach from Jacksonville, Florida. You can Follow Vance here on Facebook or here on Instagram.


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